Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
First Coast

Jacksonville Zoo Welcomes White Rhino From Tampa’s Zoo

Kipenzi, is now living at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens.
Morgan Purvis
Via Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens
Kipenzi, is now living at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens.

A southern white rhinoceros named Kipenzi has been transferred to the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens after being born at Zoo Tampa in 2016.

“Kipenzi is a great addition to our rhino crash. We love her energy and her enthusiastic personality is really starting to radiate. She has adjusted well to her new home and we look forward to her serving as an extraordinary ambassador for her species,” said Assistant Curator of Mammals Corey Neatrour in an email to WJCT News on Thursday.

Kipenzi shares her habitat with 26-year-old Gabriella, or “Gabby,” and 51-year-old Archie, who is the third oldest male rhino in the world, according to the zoo. The Plains of East Africa exhibit also is home to greater kudu, East African grey crowned-cranes, Marabou stork, and a North African ostrich.

Kipenzi, whose name means “loved one” in Swahili, came to Jacksonville based on a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums' Species Survival Plan for southern white rhinos. When she reaches the mature age of 6 or 7 years old, the zoo will explore breeding options for her.

Of the five types of existing rhinoceros, southern white rhinos, native to Sub-Saharan Africa, are the most prevalent of the rhino species, according to the zoo. The zoo said the subspecies has made a remarkable recovery from near extinction in the late 19th century.

What the zoo described as a “hundred years of careful protection and management” has helped the population grow from less than 100 to around 18,000 today. However, for the northern white rhino subspecies, there are only two females left in the world, the zoo said.

White rhinos are listed as near threatened due to poaching by humans for their horns, which has affected all five rhino species.

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens pays the annual costs of a Wildlife Protection Unit, safeguarding Sumatran rhinos, and the zoo also supports International Rhino Foundation and Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. The Jacksonville chapter of the American Association of Zoo Keepers also annually hosts the Bowling for Rhinos fundraiser, which has raised over $8 million nationally for rhino conservation since 1990.